Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has declared the appointment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices (ICPC) and Other Related Offences Commission chairmen from the same geopolitical zone unlawful and against the Federal Character Principle.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria made the declaration during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday.
According to the SAN, if the chairman of the EFCC is from the northern region, then the chairman of the ICPC should be appointed from the southern region.
The recently appointed chairman of EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede and the ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye are both from the South-West geopolitical zone.
Falana said, “There is no issue; the only issue that has been raised has to be considered by the government is that we have in this country, the Federal Character Commission Act and also by the virtue of Section 14 of the constitution, appointments must reflect Federal Character.
“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from same zone. If there are two positions in the public service, one must go to the North, and one must go to the South. If there are four, two must go to the South, and two must go to the North. If there are six, one must go to each geopolitical zone. That is the law in Nigeria today.”
He added that though Olukoyede is very much qualified to head the EFCC, he (Falana) is not comfortable with the fact that the heads of both anti-graft agencies are from the South-West geopolitical zone.
“So, I am not comfortable with the fact that the heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. Apart from that, Mr Ola Olukoyede is eminently qualified to head the EFCC. My colleagues who have criticised the appointment have not looked at the relevant provisions of the EFCC which is Section 2”, he submitted.
Recall that the President, Bola Tinubu appointed Mr Olukoyede as the new EFCC chairman on 12th of October, 2023, amid controversies.
Mr Olukoyede’s appointment followed the controversial resignation of embattled ex-EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who was suspended on 14th of June, 2023 and detained by the Department of State Services over allegations of abuse of office.